From Michelin-star restaurants to hole-in-the-wall eateries, the best restaurants in Chicago showcase its rich traditions and diverse cultural backgrounds. Book a tour with an expert local guide to uncover these hidden gems!
Lula offers an eclectic menu of new American cuisine in an airy space featuring rotating contemporary art exhibitions. Guests can also sit at the bar and indulge in thick-cut short ribs.
When asked what makes Chicago special, most Chicagoans will mention XOCO churros or Michael Jordan six times; but many will also cite Au Cheval, located under the Damen Blue Line stop and known for its comforting classics and eggs. No wonder Au Cheval has earned such glowing reviews that Food Network featured it amongst their recommended eateries; you might even come across one in an article like New York Times Best Restaurants List!
The burgers at This Joint are excellent, but what really sets it apart is its fries. Cooked in beef tallow (for an almost smoky flavor), they come with generous salt packets and come topped with bacon, aged cheddar, ranch, and, of course, a fried egg for extra deliciousness.
Vegan diners in Chicago will love this restaurant, one of the finest. Offering organic meals 80% of the time – such as fresh salads, soups, bowls, wraps, and desserts – as well as selling ingredients and sauces at their in-house market, their tempting menu also boasts vegan-friendly brunch and dinner sandwiches as well as chef specialties and hearty pasta dishes – this place truly delivers on its promise of vegan cuisine.
With an eclectic menu that combines classic dishes and innovative new interpretations, this cozy Italian restaurant stands out as one of Chicago’s premier dining spots. Enjoy delicious chef specialties and comforting pasta alongside refreshing signature drinks.
Sleek urban style meets traditional comfort at this elegantly appointed dining room featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. Their seasonal American menu earned them one Michelin star and three from Chicago Tribune, as well as James Beard Awards, nods from Chef Lee Wolen for adding depth and surprise to dishes like foie gras toast with cranberry and cinnamon as well as roast chicken served with Jerusalem artichoke, maitake mushrooms, and sherry wine sauce.
Au Cheval’s classic dining room exudes classicism while taking full advantage of its location in trendy Wicker Park. Offering bar bites such as burgers and egg dishes along with an extensive selection of wines and beer including house recipe collaboration beers makes this space truly inviting.
Gibsons Old World Steakhouse has long been revered in its neighborhood as a local landmark, even appearing regularly on television shows! Enjoy perfectly marbled cuts of beef as well as Italian classics such as eggplant parmigiana in its cozy ambiance.
Chicago is well known for its vast dining scene, featuring both fine and casual eateries alike, all creating the best restaurants in Chicago. Michelin-star restaurants lie alongside small neighborhood gems tucked away. Food lovers flock to this city – here are some of the best restaurants that deserve your time on either Dan Ryan Drive or stroll through your neighborhood.
The husband-and-wife team runs this lively Mexican restaurant, providing it with plenty of energy. Their menu combines classics like skirt steak and carnitas dishes with more exotic offerings such as grilled portabella or octopus tacos – not forgetting, there is plenty of tequila available too!
This energetic seafood spot brings an island vibe with calypso blues, natural lighting, and freshly caught seafood on display. One of Chicago’s finest places for delicious high-quality seafood and excellent counter service experience!
At this airy West Loop restaurant, the chefs offer both a nine-course set menu and a la carte selections. Their Nepalese and Indian sections each offer delicious vegetarian-friendly dishes such as duck liver tart with toasted buckwheat and salted ramps; roasted sablefish with cauliflower and marigold; and their delectable arroz chaufa (Peruvian fried rice). Plus there is an extensive wine list that pairs beautifully with your meals!
Bombay Wraps has you covered when your stomach is growling but there’s no rush: fresh Indian cuisine served in flatbread wraps awaits, perfect for vegan diners looking for delicious comfort food – plus, their messy sweet fries are an absolute must!
This lively restaurant provides high-quality seafood in an inviting counter format. Their extensive menu boasts traditional tandoori and biryani options as well as unique combo platters for groups – plus they provide vegetarian and vegan menu options!
For an unforgettable culinary experience, look no further. Their goat braised in smoked arbol chiles sets the gold standard among birrierias; served alongside handmade tortillas.
As the New York bagel trend spreads its influence to Chicago, this family-owned and operated classic not only offers stunning looks, but a no-frills menu of crinkle-cut cheese fries, chopped salads, croissant sandwiches, and its famous chocolate cake shake.
Brown Bag Seafood Co.
Brown Bag Seafood Co. in Chicago is the place for any seafood fanatic. As seen on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, this quirky corner spot serves up fresh seafood in addition to other international cuisines. Plus the friendly service is fantastic and prices are very reasonable – an essential stop on any Chicago dining itinerary!
At the top of many foodies’ lists for best restaurants in Chicago is this upscale eatery in the downtown Peninsula Hotel, boasting a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Decorated in classic 1930s supper club style, it serves Shanghainese and Cantonese classics seasoned with unique flavor profiles; their braised goat dish practically begs for its own Rocky training montage!
Since winning Season Four of Top Chef, Stephanie Izard has quickly made her way up through the ranks to become one of the premier figures of Chicago’s dining scene. At Girl & the Goat restaurant, creating one of the best restaurants in Chicago, she continues producing exquisite steaks while other menu items display an array of textures, flavors and inspirations.
Windy City restaurants have received national acclaim. An opulent Gold Coast eatery upends longstanding steakhouse traditions while an award-winning Peruvian chef’s River North eatery transforms regional flavors. Meanwhile, a funky corner spot creates diner fare with inventive dishes that are fast, filling, and affordably priced – these three establishments rank among Chicago’s best restaurants.
Fat Rice offers an eclectic combination of Asian and European food in a posh setting. Their menu boasts imaginative yet thoughtful offerings like truffle pasta or bites of spice-marinated chicken on crispy shreds of kataifi – something no other restaurant in town offers!
Sun Wah is one of the finest family-run Chinese eateries in Chicago for unforgettable dining experiences. Their succulent Chinese barbecue and Hong Kong specialties leave customers craving more. Their mouthwatering signature dishes were even awarded three stars from The Chicago Tribune and one Michelin star!
BIG & Littles
Chicago is a food lover’s delight, thus the numerous options when looking at the best restaurants in Chicago. Boasting everything from fine dining experiences and upscale spots with an opulent atmosphere to cozy eateries with delightful cuisine, Chicago boasts both luxurious steakhouses on the Gold Coast and famed Peruvian eateries in River North that regularly garner Michelin stars and launch celebrity chefs’ careers.
Sepia offers those in search of luxury a taste of what life should offer at its best, with its ever-evolving seasonal American menu featuring local ingredients combined with sophisticated preparation techniques. Their lavish tasting menu boasts dishes like Venison Shabu-shabu (with hon-shimeji mushrooms, chestnuts, and chile crisp) as well as Ricotta Cavatelli with Parmesan butter, pine nuts, and crispy sourdough crisp.
The Warbler offers an exquisite menu of gourmet dishes served in an airy and chic-yet-comfortable environment. Ideal for lunchtime dining, its dinner service offers hearty farm dinners to soothe any sense of soul hunger. Additionally, no visit to Chicago would be complete without tasting one of Pequod’s legendary deep dish pizzas baked on cheese-sprinkled pans as well as its diner-style bar offering drinks and bar bites – an experience not to be missed when visiting this incredible city!